Patents Represented by Attorney Robin W. Edwards
  • Patent number: 7732998
    Abstract: A telescoping actuator assembly includes a plurality of cylindrical actuators in a concentric arrangement. Each cylindrical actuator is at least one piezoelectric fiber composite actuator having a plurality of piezoelectric fibers extending parallel to one another and to the concentric arrangement's longitudinal axis. Each cylindrical actuator is coupled to concentrically-adjacent ones of the cylindrical actuators such that the plurality of cylindrical actuators can experience telescopic movement. An electrical energy source coupled to the cylindrical actuators applies actuation energy thereto to generate the telescopic movement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 2006
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Sidney G. Allison, Qamar A. Shams, Robert L. Fox, Christopher L. Fox, legal representative, Melanie L. Fox Chattin, legal representative
  • Patent number: 7723464
    Abstract: Novel compositions of matter comprise certain derivatives of 9,9-dialkyl fluorene diamine (AFDA). The resultant compositions, whether compositions of matter or monomers that are subsequently incorporated into a polymer, are unique and useful in a variety of applications. Useful applications of AFDA-based material include heavy ion radiation shielding components and components of optical and electronic devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: May 25, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Donovan M. Delozier, Kent A. Watson, John W. Connell, Joseph G. Smith, Jr.
  • Patent number: 7711509
    Abstract: A method of calibrating a fluid-level measurement system is provided. A first response of the system is recorded when the system's sensor(s) is (are) not in contact with a fluid of interest. A second response of the system is recorded when the system's sensor(s) is (are) fully immersed in the fluid of interest. Using the first and second responses, a plurality of expected responses of the system's sensor(s) is (are) generated for a corresponding plurality of levels of immersion of the sensor(s) in the fluid of interest.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2007
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Stanley E. Woodard, Bryant D. Taylor
  • Patent number: 7683797
    Abstract: A damage locating system also provides thermal protection. An array of sensors substantially tiles an area of interest. Each sensor is a reflective-surface conductor having operatively coupled inductance and capacitance. A magnetic field response recorder is provided to interrogate each sensor before and after a damage condition. Changes in response are indicative of damage and a corresponding location thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Stanley E. Woodard, Thomas W. Jones, Bryant D. Taylor, A. Shams Qamar
  • Patent number: 7647771
    Abstract: A thermally driven piston assembly's housing has (i) a first material slidingly fitted therein, and (ii) at least one plug of a second material slidingly fitted therein and abutting the first material. The first material is one (e.g., a liquid crystal elastomer) that undergoes a stiffness change and/or a dimensional change when subjected to a temperature change in the temperature range of interest. When subjected to the temperature change while in the housing, the first material is restricted to changing dimensionally along a single dimension. The second material retains its shape and size throughout the temperature range of interest. As a result, the plug moves in the housing in correspondence with the dimensional change of the first material or the plug's movement is damped by the stiffness change of the first material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 19, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Donald L. Thomsen, III, Robert G. Bryant
  • Patent number: 7595112
    Abstract: A method of fabricating a metal/composite hybrid laminate is provided. One or more layered arrangements are stacked on a solid base to form a layered structure. Each layered arrangement is defined by a fibrous material and a perforated metal sheet. A resin in its liquid state is introduced along a portion of the layered structure while a differential pressure is applied across the laminate structure until the resin permeates the fibrous material of each layered arrangement and fills perforations in each perforated metal sheet. The resin is cured thereby yielding a metal/composite hybrid laminate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 2006
    Date of Patent: September 29, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Roberto J. Cano, Brian W. Grimsley, Erik S. Weiser, Brian J. Jensen
  • Patent number: 7589525
    Abstract: A magnetic field response sensor comprises an inductor placed at a fixed separation distance from a conductive surface to address the low RF transmissivity of conductive surfaces. The minimum distance for separation is determined by the sensor response. The inductor should be separated from the conductive surface so that the response amplitude exceeds noise level by a recommended 10 dB. An embodiment for closed cavity measurements comprises a capacitor internal to said cavity and an inductor mounted external to the cavity and at a fixed distance from the cavity's wall. An additional embodiment includes a closed cavity configuration wherein multiple sensors and corresponding antenna are positioned inside the cavity, with the antenna and inductors maintained at a fixed distance from the cavity's wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2006
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Stanley E. Woodard, Bryant D. Taylor
  • Patent number: 7588699
    Abstract: The present invention is directed to the effective dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into polymer matrices. The nanocomposites are prepared using polymer matrices and exhibit a unique combination of properties, most notably, high retention of optical transparency in the visible range (i.e., 400–800 nm), electrical conductivity, and high thermal stability. By appropriate selection of the matrix resin, additional properties such as vacuum ultraviolet radiation resistance, atomic oxygen resistance, high glass transition (Tg) temperatures, and excellent toughness can be attained. The resulting nanocomposites can be used to fabricate or formulate a variety of articles such as coatings on a variety of substrates, films, foams, fibers, threads, adhesives and fiber coated prepreg. The properties of the nanocomposites can be adjusted by selection of the polymer matrix and CNT to fabricate articles that possess high optical transparency and antistatic behavior.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Cheol Park, Kent A. Watson, Zoubeida Ounaies, John W. Connell, Joseph G. Smith, Joycelyn S. Harrison
  • Patent number: 7580323
    Abstract: An optical assembly is formed by one or more piezoelectric fiber composite actuators having one or more optical fibers coupled thereto. The optical fiber(s) experiences strain when actuation voltage is applied to the actuator(s). Light passing through the optical fiber(s) is wavelength tuned by adjusting the actuation voltage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Adninistration
    Inventors: Sidney G. Allison, Qamar A. Shams, Robert L. Fox, Christopher L. Fox, legal representative, Melanie L. Fox Chattin, legal representative
  • Patent number: 7506541
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for determining the volume of a fluid in a container. Sensors are positioned at distinct locations in a container of a fluid. Each sensor is sensitive to an interface defined by the top surface of the fluid. Interfaces associated with at least three of the sensors are determined and used to find the volume of the fluid in the container in a geometric process.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2006
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Stanley E. Woodard, Bryant D. Taylor
  • Patent number: 7507784
    Abstract: Main chain thermotropic liquid crystal esters, ester-imides, and ester-amides were prepared from AA, BB, and AB type monomeric materials and end-capped with phenylacetylene, phenylmaleimide, or nadimide reactive end-groups. The end-capped liquid crystal oligomers are thermotropic and have, preferably, molecular weights in the range of approximately 1000-15,000 grams per mole. The end-capped liquid crystal oligomers have broad liquid crystalline melting ranges and exhibit high melt stability and very low melt viscosities at accessible temperatures. The end-capped liquid crystal oligomers are stable for up to an hour in the melt phase. They are highly processable by a variety of melt process shape forming and blending techniques. Once processed and shaped, the end-capped liquid crystal oligomers were heated to further polymerize and form liquid crystalline thermosets (LCT). The fully cured products are rubbers above their glass transition temperatures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Theodorus J. Dingemans, Erik S. Weiser, Terry L. St. Clair
  • Patent number: 7491428
    Abstract: A carbon nanotube (CNT) attraction material is deposited on a substrate in the gap region between two electrodes on the substrate. An electric potential is applied to the two electrodes. The CNT attraction material is wetted with a solution defined by a carrier liquid having carbon nanotubes (CNTs) suspended therein. A portion of the CNTs align with the electric field and adhere to The CNT attraction material. The carrier liquid and any CNTs not adhered to the CNT attraction material are then removed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jan M. Smits, Russell A. Wincheski, JoAnne L. Ingram, Anthony Neal Watkins, Jeffrey D. Jordan
  • Patent number: 7394181
    Abstract: A hybrid electromechanical actuator has two different types of electromechanical elements, one that expands in a transverse direction when electric power is applied thereto and one that contracts in a transverse direction when electric power is applied thereto. The two electromechanical elements are (i) disposed in relation to one another such that the transverse directions thereof are parallel to one another, and (ii) mechanically coupled to one another at least at two opposing edges thereof. Electric power is applied simultaneously to the elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2008
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Ji Su, Tian-Bing Xu
  • Patent number: 7321185
    Abstract: Two similarly shaped, such as rectangular, shells are attached to one another such that they form a resulting thin airfoil-like structure. The resulting device has at least two stable equilibrium shapes. The device can be transformed from one shape to another with a snap-through action. One or more actuators can be used to effect the snap-through; i.e., transform the device from one stable shape to another. Power to the actuators is needed only to transform the device from one shape to another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2008
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Marc R. Schultz
  • Patent number: 7262543
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for monitoring performance capacity of a piezoelectric material that may form part of an actuator or sensor device. A switch is used to selectively electrically couple an inductor to the piezoelectric material to form an inductor-capacitor circuit. Resonance is induced in the inductor-capacitor circuit when the switch is operated to create the circuit. The resonance of the inductor-capacitor circuit is monitored with the frequency of the resonance being indicative of performance capacity of the device's piezoelectric material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 2004
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Robert W. Moses, Christopher L. Fox, legal representative, Melanie L. Fox, legal representative, Richard L. Chattin, Qamar A. Shams, Robert L. Fox, deceased
  • Patent number: 7255004
    Abstract: A level-sensing probe positioned in a tank is divided into sections with each section including (i) a fluid-level capacitive sensor disposed along the length thereof, (ii) an inductor electrically coupled to the capacitive sensor, (iii) a sensor antenna positioned for inductive coupling to the inductor, and (iv) an electrical conductor coupled to the sensor antenna. An electrically non-conductive housing accessible from a position outside of the tank houses antennas arrayed in a pattern. Each antenna is electrically coupled to the electrical conductor from a corresponding one of the sections. A magnetic field response recorder has a measurement head with transceiving antennas arrayed therein to correspond to the pattern of the housing's antennas. When a measurement is to be taken, the measurement head is mechanically coupled to the housing so that each housing antenna is substantially aligned with a specific one of the transceiving antennas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Bryant D. Taylor, Stanley E. Woodard
  • Patent number: 7252884
    Abstract: A solid carbon has CNTs dispersed therein and is formed about three-dimensionally ordered spherical voids arranged in an opal-like lattice.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Ji Su, Ngan Fong Huang
  • Patent number: 7231832
    Abstract: A system and method are provided for detecting cracks and their location in a structure. A circuit coupled to a structure has capacitive strain sensors coupled sequentially and in parallel to one another. When excited by a variable magnetic field, the circuit has a resonant frequency that is different for unstained and strained states. In terms of strained states, the resonant frequency is indicative of a region of the circuit that is experiencing strain induced by strain in a region of the structure in proximity to the region of the circuit. An inductor is electrically coupled to one end of each circuit. A magnetic field response recorder wirelessly transmits the variable magnetic field to the inductor and senses the resonant frequency of the circuit so-excited by the variable magnetic field.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Stanley E. Woodard, Qamar A. Shams
  • Patent number: 7197798
    Abstract: A method for fabricating a piezoelectric macro-fiber composite actuator comprises making a piezoelectric fiber sheet by providing a plurality of wafers of piezoelectric material, bonding the wafers together with an adhesive material to form a stack of alternating layers of piezoelectric material and adhesive material, and cutting through the stack in a direction substantially parallel to the thickness of the stack and across the alternating layers of piezoelectric material and adhesive material to provide at least one piezoelectric fiber sheet having two sides comprising a plurality of piezoelectric fibers in juxtaposition to the adhesive material. The method further comprises bonding two electrically conductive films to the two sides of the piezoelectric fiber sheet. At least one conductive film has first and second conductive patterns formed thereon which are electrically isolated from one another and in electrical contact with the piezoelectric fiber sheet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: W. Keats Wilkie, Robert G. Bryant, Robert L. Fox, Richard F. Hellbaum, James W. High, Rosemary Jalink, legal representative, Bruce D. Little, Paul H. Mirick, Antony Jalink, Jr., deceased
  • Patent number: 7181942
    Abstract: An ultrasonic device and method obtains desirable crimp connections between a crimp connector and a wire, or bundle of wires, by assessing the desirability of connections made in a wire-to-wire connection and in other situations where two materials with good acoustic propagation characteristics are joined together via deformation. An embodiment of the device as a crimping tool comprises a compressing means, pulse-generating circuitry, at least one ultrasonic transmitting transducer, at least one ultrasonic receiving transducer, receiving circuitry, and a display. The user may return to a previously crimped connection and assess the desirability of the connection by compressing the device about the connection, sending an acoustic signal through the crimp, and comparing the received signal to a signal obtained from known desirable connections.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 9, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2007
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: William T. Yost, K. Elliott Cramer, Daniel F. Perey